Recognition for our Rear Admiral Shaffer, nominations for police advisory board needed, details on next Council meeting

After a few of my remarks, you will find a summary of what’s on the agenda for Monday’s Council meeting. This will be our last virtual meeting.

Recognition of Ward 7’s retired Rear Admiral

Of special note is that we will be providing a Council Citation/recognition of Ward 7 (BayWoods) resident Rear Admiral Guy Shaffer, for his continual contributions to our community. He has been instrumental in getting the effort started to protect Carrs Beach, finding a home for Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), and supporting the Annapolis Maritime Museum's Moyer Park campus. 

Police Advisory Board nominations needed

The City of Annapolis Mayor’s Office is seeking individuals to serve on the Anne Arundel County Police Accountability Board (PAB), which is being created in compliance with Maryland state law and must be seated by July 1, 2022. The Board creates an opportunity for community members to play a critical role in accountability and transparency in police practices and policy in Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis. In addition to reviewing individual cases, Board members may take an active role in serving as liaisons between Annapolis communities, the City of Annapolis, the Annapolis Police Department, the Police Accountability Board and the Administrative Charging Committee. Civilian oversight is an evolving process, as recent events in Anne Arundel and beyond have emphasized the need for resident input in law enforcement and community policing, making the Police Accountability Board’s work more important than ever. If you are interested in serving on this board, please let me know.

Stay healthy and stay safe,

Rob

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Final vote on electric mobility plan, details on Mon Council meeting

Here’s a summary of what’s on the agenda for Monday’s Council meeting. This will be virtual but I think we are set to resume in person meetings in April.

I’d also like to let you know that I will be scheduling a town hall meeting for probably late April or early May. I’d like to do it outdoors at the Annapolis Maritime campus at Moyer park.

Stay healthy and stay safe,

Rob

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vote on garage & city dock replacement

Good morning!

Hillman Garage & City Dock replacement projects

Tomorrow we will be voting on a Resolution that would express Council support for the execution of the concession agreement with Annapolis Mobility and Resilience Partners, LLC (AMRP) to finance, design, build, operate, and maintain a new parking garage at 150 Gorman Street, the location of the current Hillman Garage. The new garage will expand parking spaces from 525 spaces [CORRECTION – 425 spaces] in the current garage to 590 spaces, and will include improvements such as electric vehicle chargers, gateless entry and exit, robust stormwater management, and parking space availability information. In this scenario, the private partners would be taking on the debt and risk of constructing the new garage, and they would be paying off that debt through the future garage and parking fees. The City would essentially get a payment in lieu of these fees to cover the lost revenue on our end. I have given this considerable thought and I do currently support the proposed public-private partnership. Besides all of the experts on staff and hired by staff being in agreement that this is a good deal, one of the things that helped convince me was when I factored in the point that we really can’t afford to do both the City garage and City dock redevelopment (to adapt to sea level rise) on our own utilizing City bonds. Just one of those projects would put us over our debt ceiling. While I’m sure we will get some help from the State and possibly federal governments, their help likely won’t change this fact. Furthermore, this P3 structure places most of the risk with the private partnership, not with the City or taxpayers.

Campaign to save Carr's Beach in Ward 7

Here is an article by the former Capital Gazette editor-in-chief Rick Hutzell regarding the effort to save Carr's Beach in Ward 7. This is something we have been working on for a while now, so thanks to all of you who have been advocating. Please reach out to your State representatives to ask them to continue fighting for money to help accomplish this goal of preservation.

Hillman Garage Closing for Rebuild in Late March 2022

New Website to Guide Residents and Visitors. AccessAnnapolis.com Provides Information on Parking and Transit Options.

Re-districting of Ward boundaries

Brooks Debose with The Capital has spoken to his editor and they are allowing their stories on the Ward re-districting efforts to be available to the public free-of-charge. So please review and send any comments to the re-districting committee.

Annapolis redistricting task force seeks voter input in first public hearing

Annapolis task force releases three draft redistricting maps for public feedback

Annapolis residents weigh in on proposed ward redistricting maps at public hearing

Environmental internships available

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Chesapeake Research Consortium's C-StREAM paid internships provide interns with a $6,000 stipend, a $1,000 housing and transportation allowance, as well as funding for professional development activities such as conferences, training, supplies, and travel which can be extended throughout the following school year! Contact Randy Rowell for more information.

Stay healthy and stay safe,

Rob

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Carr's Beach acquisition, update on pollution in Quiet Waters

Good afternoon! I hope you have found an opportunity to get outside today and enjoy this mild weather before winter returns tomorrow! I have a few updates for you along with a Council meeting briefing for Monday.

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pollution in park AGAIN - need support for emergency legislation

We have six pieces of legislation up for a public hearing, which I’ll describe below. But I want to start off with an update on the Parkside Preserve (aka Reserve at Quiet Waters) pollution saga. If you care about this issue, care about our Park, I implore you to sign up to testify at our virtual Council meeting on Monday, to help support the emergency Resolution I’ll be introducing.

Another pollution emergency in Quiet Waters Park – emergency Resolution needs your support

I’ve mentioned previously how a development off Old Annapolis Neck Rd, in our Ward, has been sending pollution into Quiet Waters park. This is entirely preventable pollution that the contractor, Reliable Contracting Inc, has been discharging because they are not and have not been following our environmental regulations. The City’s Department of Public Works is the enforcement agency and they have not escalated enforcement or held this contractor accountable, and now we have had a fifth instance of pollution entering the park. (You can get a detailed chronology/summary here)

I’ve drafted an emergency Resolution whose purpose is to express the Council’s will that the City to utilize the laws we have passed to their fullest extent to secure compliance. If the City staff won’t do their jobs the Council needs to step in. I have an additional amendment that would express that we resolve that Reliable’s permit be suspended (or revoked) pending a full review by the City and the public, and requiring that a new agreement be drafted to ensure compliance and responsiveness to the public concerns.

But to get this passed I need your help. I need your testimony (limited to 3 minutes) at the meeting. My colleagues on the Council need to know how this has been impacting you, how pollution of our park is unacceptable, and how you want them to stand up for our Ward and support us on this. Our Council meeting will be virtual so it couldn’t be easier to sign up to testify. Just fill out this form and click the “live testimony” box. The meeting starts at 7PM and I expect the general public testimony period to start around 7:30, but that could be more or less.

Stay healthy and stay safe,

Rob

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Continual pollution in Quiet Waters park

Here is a chronology of some of the pollution discharge events we have had at Quiet Waters Park, due to the failure of the contrator, Reliable Contracting Inc, to follow our environmental regulations, and also due to a failure of the City's enforcement arm (Department of Public Works) to do effective enforcement to achieve compliance. Besides the environmental impacts, they have also failed to comply with our traffic control (dangerous to residents), noise restrictions (impacts residents), work hour restrictions (residents kept up at night), and pavement standards (danger to cars).

This is a DEFCON 1 situation environmentally. We have laws to prevent sediment pollution for a reason. It contributes to the creation of dead zones (areas devoid of all oxygen and life) in our waterways, toxic algal blooms, and flesh-eating bacteria. I'm an environmental scientist. I know very well the impacts this pollution causes; hence my sense of outrage. And now we have our most sacred public park that has been impacted. 

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First council meeting of the new year - MLK breakfast

The first Council meeting of the new year is this Monday. There are two pieces of legislation up for a public hearing and two up for a final vote, but nothing too controversial. On Monday January 17th is a virtual Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr breakfast; information below.

Enjoy the snow and winter weather and happy new year!

Stay healthy and stay safe,

Rob

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Council resumes Monday, safety meeting with Chief, Parkside pollution update, Ward redistricting hearings

First of all, happy holidays! Second of all, thank you for re-electing me to serve as your Alderman! I look forward to serving you for the next term. As you may have noticed, I’ve tried to take a bit of a break here between Council terms, but, alas, it feels like that went by rather quickly and here we are with our first Council meeting of this term coming up on Monday. Given that this is our first meeting, there isn’t too much on the agenda. I’ve provided a summary below. As always, feel free to reach out to me witih any comments.

There are a number of important updates at the end of this email, including information about upcoming hearings about Ward redistricting, a community safety meeting with the Police Chief, and an update on the Parkside Preserve pollution issues.

Also, given that the new year is almost upon us, please send me your priorities you want me to focus on for the next term.

Stay healthy and stay safe,

Rob

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last council meeting for this term, update on parkside pollution

This Monday will be our last Council meeting for this term. I want to say how much of an honor and privilege it has been to serve you these past 4 years. I’m even more honored and humbled (and appreciative of my family’s support!)  to be able to continue serving as your Alderman for another 4 years. I hope you have been happy with how I’ve been performing my duty to represent you, and respectfully ask for your vote on November 2nd.

Stay tuned to your email as I plan on holding a Ward 7 social gathering at the Maritime Museum’s Moyer park campus in early November. Since I haven’t had a town hall in a while, I will also be there to answer any questions folks may have and likely give a number of updates for what we may have in store for next year.

I’ll also include an update on the Parkside Preserve pollution at the end of this email.

Stay healthy and stay safe,

Rob

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March to stop pollution in Quiet Waters park tomorrow 7AM & other Council updates

Given that there isn’t too much on this second-to-last council meeting of this term, the big news I wanted to lead off with is the pollution in Quiet Waters Park. I’ve been sent numerous pictures over the past few weeks of this muddy water illegally entering into the park from the adjacent development project, ironically named Parkside Preserve, which is actually a new ~130 home residential development. I want to assure you that I’ve been working tirelessly to address this situation (my family has seen me for only a few hours this week). I went out to the site (without entering) and observed 12 different violations on the work site (remember, I used to do environmental inspections for the City, prior to getting elected), and promptly sent that to the City Manager. After a slow response from staff, I proceeded to contact the Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

I’m happy to say that the site is now mostly in compliance, after 7 long days. Keep in mind that the developer is required to keep their site in compliance every single day. So the fact that they were out of compliance for weeks, and the City gave them another entire week is a problem. It’s also a problem that the department in charge of the inspections, Public Works, failed to notice these violations for weeks, despite their thrice-weekly inspections. It’s also a problem that after 12 violations, and 13 out-of-compliance inspection results, the developer is allowed to get away with this with zero dollars in fines for sending this pollution into our park. To top it off, the permit for this work actually expires at the end of today, and once this was brought to the City's attention, they quickly extended the contractor's permit (in violation of our laws); much more quickly than it took them to respond to our citizen complaints. The fact that this violates our laws is something I will need to figure out how to address.

In anycase, this is why our neighbors in Beechwood hill and surrounding communities organized a brand new coalition, called Annapolis Stand Up! They are organizing a march and rally for TOMORROW AT 7AM starting at the entrance of Quiet Waters park and heading over to the project. The early time is due to that being the time that workers get to the site. I will post their flyer down below.

In other news, I’m withdrawing O-12-21, the Police Enhancement And Community Engagement (PEACE) ordinance. I will be bringing this back next term, but it simply proved to be too complex to be passed this session, especially since we made major revisions to it after meeting with the Police Department, law office, and ACLU, which need to be brought back to the public.

Lastly, I respectfully ask for your vote when you receive your ballot. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving you and look forward to continuing to do so for another 4 years.

Stay healthy and stay safe,

Rob

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